Wikimedia blog

News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Highlights

Major news and information from the Wikimedia Foundation (RSS feed).

Wikimedia Foundation Report, January 2014

Information You are more than welcome to edit the wiki version of this report for the purposes of usefulness, presentation, etc., and to add translations of the “Highlights” excerpts.

Data and Trends

2013 traffic trends (presentation slides)

Global unique visitors for December:

490 million (-7.98% compared with November; +3.73% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release January data later in February)

Page requests for January:

20.678 billion (+13.2% compared with December; -7.0% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation content projects including mobile access, but excluding Wikidata and the Wikipedia main portal page.)

Active Registered Editors for December 2013 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

75,441 (+0.99% compared with November / -2.72% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

Report Card (integrating various statistical data and trends about WMF projects):

http://reportcard.wmflabs.org/

(Definitions)

Financials

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Revenue and Expenses vs Plan as of December 31, 2013

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Expenses by Functions as of December 31, 2013

(Financial information is only available through December 2013 at the time of this report.)

All financial information presented is for the Month-To-Date and Year-To-Date December 31, 2013.

Revenue 34,750,758
Expenses:
 Engineering Group 7,818,380
 Fundraising Group 2,267,144
 Grantmaking Group 838,068
 Programs Group 866,479
 Grants 1,289,803
 Governance Group 377,413
 Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 1,752,003
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 3,566,318
Total Expenses 18,775,608
Total surplus (15,975,150)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of December is $20.14MM versus plan of $19.61MM, approximately $535K or 3% over plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $34.75MM versus plan of $36.32MM, approximately $1.57MM or 4% under plan.
  • Expenses for the month of December is $3.65MM versus plan of $4.43MM, approximately $778K or 18% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, payment processing fees, and travel expenses partially offset by higher outside contract services.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $18.78MM versus plan of $22.86MM, approximately $4.08MM or 18% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, legal fees, payment processing fees, staff development expenses, and travel expenses partially offset by higher outside contract services and recruiting fees.
  • Cash position is $55.34MM as of December 31, 2013.

Highlights

New community-centered trademark policy

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Wikipedian Ihor Kostenko dies on the Maidan

This post is available in 2 languages: Українська 7% • English 100%

The original post was published on the Wikimedia Ukraine blog. The English translation can be found further down this page.

Українська

На Майдані загинув вікіпедист Ігор Костенко

Ігор Костенко

20 лютого 2014 року під час протистояння у Києві трагічно загинув Ігор Костенко — активний дописувач української Вікіпедії, журналіст, студент-географ.

Ігор Костенко народився 31 грудня 1991 року у селі Зубрець Бучацького району на Тернопільщині. Після закінчення школи вступив до Львівського університету імені Івана Франка, де навчався на 5-му курсі географічного факультету за спеціальністю «Менеджмент організацій». Паралельно з навчанням працював журналістом видання «Спортаналітика».

Ігор був активним дописувачем української Вікіпедії, писав під ім’ям Ig2000. Ігор зареєструвався 23 липня 2011, і вже того ж місяця почав писати перші статті. За два з половиною роки він написав понад 280 статей, зробив понад 1600 редагувань. Мав широке коло енциклопедичних інтересів — писав статті спортивної тематики (футбол, Формула-1), з географії, економіки, а також про історію українського війська. Його стаття про есмінець «Незаможник» українського та радянського флоту першої половини XX століття  була визнана спільнотою як одна з найповніших та отримала статус «доброї статті». Крім цього, він написав і ряд повідомлень про спортивні події до Вікіновин.

Ігор також активно займався просуванням української Вікіпедії в соціальних мережах, через які намагався залучати нових дописувачів. Адміністрував групу дописувачів Української Вікіпедії у Фейсбуку, де постійно розміщував цікавинки про Вікіпедію. В серпні 2013 року запропонував провести Вікіфлешмоб — запросити в певний святковий день якомога більшу кількість українців написати нові статті до Вікіпедії. Вікіфлешмоб пропонувалося провести 30 січня 2014 року до 10-річчя української Вікіпедії, проте через трагічні події в країні його довелося скасувати. Ігор вірив, що флешмоб допоможе поповнити Вікіпедію тисячами нових статей за день та запропонував стратегію його реалізації, однак до його проведення, на жаль, він не дожив…

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Wikimedia Highlights, December 2013

Information For versions in other languages, please check the wiki version of this report, or add your own translation there!

Highlights from the Wikimedia Foundation Report and the Wikimedia engineering report for December 2013, with a selection of other important events from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

The new “editing Wikipedia” brochure

New brochure explains how to edit Wikipedia

The Education Program team completed work on an entirely new version of the Welcome to Wikipedia brochure (now titled “Editing Wikipedia“). It is also available for translation into other languages.

“Drafts” feature provides a gentler start for Wikipedia articles

In December, the new Draft namespace was launched on the English Wikipedia, as requested by the local community. It gives all users (registered or anonymous) the option to start new articles as a draft, instead of publishing them immediately (which can carry the risk that the new article is nominated for deletion before it can be improved). Drafts are marked by a “Draft:” in the page title, and are not visible to search engines.

Paul Kikuba is leading an IEG project to set up a Wikipedia center in the village of Mbazzi, Uganda

Recipients of Annual Plan Grants (FDC) and Individual Engagements Grants (IEG) announced

In December, 11 Wikimedia organizations were awarded annual plan grants totaling $4.4M, following the recommendations of the volunteer-run Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) in the first round of requests for 2013/2014. The approved amount was lower than the overall requested amount of US$5.94M, affirming the FDC’s guidance to the organizations to be thoughtful about growth.

Also in December, the selection of seven projects for the second round of Individual Engagements grants (IEG) was announced. They focus on activities from outreach to tool-building, all aimed at connecting and supporting the community.

Successful year-end online fundraising campaign

The WMF fundraising team ran the year-end online fundraising campaign in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Roughly $18.7 million USD was raised from more than one million donors in December. During the two weeks when the campaign ran at full capacity, the team created and tested approximately 250 different banners. Banners will be run in other countries and languages throughout 2014.

Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for November:

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Wikimedia Foundation Report, December 2013

Information You are more than welcome to edit the wiki version of this report for the purposes of usefulness, presentation, etc., and to add translations of the “Highlights” excerpts.

Contents

Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for November:

533 million (+9.95% compared with October; +0.42% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release December data later in January)

Page requests for December:

18.270 billion (-4.0% compared with November; -9.4% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects including mobile access)

Active Registered Editors for November 2013 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

74,803 (-1.33% compared with October / -4.88% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

Report Card (integrating various statistical data and trends about WMF projects):

http://reportcard.wmflabs.org/

(Definitions)

Financials

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Revenue and Expenses vs Plan as of November 30, 2013

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Expenses by Functions as of November 30, 2013

(Financial information is only available through November 2013 at the time of this report.)

All financial information presented is for the Month-To-Date and Year-To-Date November 30, 2013.

Revenue 14,609,876
Expenses:
Engineering Group 6,589,458
Fundraising Group 1,439,053
Grantmaking Group 720,055
Programs Group 723,516
Grants 950,624
Governance Group 302,012
Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 1,367,697
Finance/HR/Admin Group 3,029,513
Total Expenses 15,121,928
Total deficit (512,052)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of November is $2.96MM versus plan of $8.83MM, approximately $5.87MM or 66% under plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $14.61MM versus plan of $16.71MM, approximately $2.1MM or 13% under plan.
  • Expenses for the month of November is $2.89MM versus plan of $3.73MM, approximately $844K or 23% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, payment processing fees, and travel expenses partially offset by higher outside contract services and recruiting expenses.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $15.12MM versus plan of $18.43MM, approximately $3.31MM or 18% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, legal fees, payment processing fees, staff development expenses, and travel expenses partially offset by higher outside contract services and recruiting fees.
  • Cash position is $38.8MM as of November 30, 2013.

Highlights

The new “editing Wikipedia” brochure

New brochure explains how to edit Wikipedia

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A Proposal for Wikimedia’s New Privacy Policy and Data Retention Guidelines

Shields, circa 1870

Privacy policies play a vital role in protecting the privacy of users. At the Wikimedia Foundation, our Privacy Policy is particularly important to us, because it is a key way we protect our users and reflect their values. It also has a broad impact, because it protects and governs the information of over twenty million registered users and 490 million monthly unique visitors.

Our current Privacy Policy was approved by the Wikimedia Board of Trustees in October 2008 and has not been updated since. Given the growing concern over privacy, especially on the internet, it is important to have an updated policy which reflects both technological advances and the evolving legal issues surrounding new technology.

So, almost eight months ago, we started a conversation with the Wikimedia community about key privacy issues. Based on that conversation, we crafted a new draft Privacy Policy and introduced it to the community for feedback about five months ago. And, thanks to that feedback, we created and discussed Wikimedia’s first Data Retention Guidelines. Today, we are closing the community consultations on the new draft Privacy Policy and Data Retention Guidelines. [1]

The new proposed Privacy Policy will now be presented to the Wikimedia Board of Trustees for review before its next meeting in April 2014. If approved, it will replace the 2008 Privacy Policy.

We would like to thank the many community members who participated in the discussions. The new proposed Privacy Policy and Data Retention Guidelines would not be what they are today without your help. (You can actually see the changes to the drafts in the Policy’s and Guidelines’ wiki revision histories that happened as a result of your feedback!) We received hundreds of questions, comments, and suggestions. In fact, the discussion on the Privacy Policy, along with the related Data Retention Guidelines and Access to Nonpublic Information Policy (whose consultation is also closing today) totaled approximately 195,000 words, making it longer than the Fellowship of the Ring! Together, we have created a transparent Privacy Policy draft that reflects our community’s values.

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Developing through Collaboration: A New Access to Nonpublic Information Policy

The Wikimedia projects depend on countless dedicated community members who generously donate their time, knowledge, and skills to the free knowledge movement. In addition to creating, editing, and maintaining articles, some community members have taken on important roles in safeguarding and supporting the projects. They protect the sites against vandalism, respond to helpdesk emails, and ensure that users are not violating Wikimedia policies, among other things. To that end, certain community members are entrusted with limited amounts of nonpublic information regarding other users.

In 2007, the Board adopted the current Access to nonpublic data policy (“current policy”) to set out procedures for entrusting community members with nonpublic user information. For two reasons, it is time to update that six-year-old policy:

  • Current identification practices are not consistent with the current policy; and
  • The new policy should provide guidance about:
    • how and when to use those access rights;
    • when and to whom nonpublic information may be shared; and
    • what specific confidentiality obligations should accompany those access rights.

Under the current policy, community members with access to the nonpublic user information are required to be “known” to the Wikimedia Foundation. However, current identification practices in fact do not result in the Foundation knowing the identities of the community members with access rights: (1) community members now provide an identification document or copy to a member of the Wikimedia Foundation’s staff; (2) the staff member informally “checks” it; and (3) the staff member returns or destroys the identification or its copy. As a result, the identities of many community members with access rights have progressively become unknown to the Foundation over the years.

In this spirit, we drafted a new Access to Nonpublic Information Policy draft (“new draft”) and announced the start of a community consultation on September 3, 2013, to get community feedback on the new draft.

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Wikimedia Foundation supports Wikipedia user subject to defamation lawsuit in Greece

Wikipedia does not exist in a vacuum. It was built by and continues to grow thanks to real people, who give their time, knowledge, and enthusiasm to a movement that touches the lives of millions around the world. Unfortunately, giving this gift of knowledge is not without risk and often reveals the courage of our community.

Because of his involvement with Wikipedia, Greek Wikipedia user and administrator Diu is a target of legal action by politician and academic Theodore Katsanevas. Mr. Katsanevas complains that the Greek-language Wikipedia article about him contains some unflattering statements. Instead of addressing his concerns with the Greek-language Wikipedia community through the appropriate processes, Mr. Katsanevas chose to file a lawsuit against Diu.

The controversial statements in question reference the will of Andreas Papandreou, former Prime Minister of Greece and father-in-law of Mr. Katsanevas. The will allegedly characterized Mr. Katsanevas as a “disgrace” to the family and reportedly accused Mr. Katsanevas of “attempting to politically exploit George Papandreou”, also a former Prime Minister of Greece. The statements were properly sourced and in accordance with Wikipedia policies. In fact, the controversy received a great deal of media coverage in Greece.

Diu has apparently been targeted because Mr. Katsanevas seems to believe that the statements were added to the article by Diu and because Diu did not remove the statements after Mr. Katsanevas demanded that he do so. In June 2013, Mr. Katsanevas filed a defamation lawsuit against Diu and The Greek Free / Open Source Software Society (“GFOSS”, also referred to as “ELLAK”), a nonprofit organization in Greece that Mr. Katsanevas mistakenly believed to be the organization running Wikipedia. The case is set to be heard in January 2016.

However, Mr. Katsanevas has now attempted to obtain a preliminary injunction ordering Diu to remove the statements from the Wikipedia article. The hearing is set for March 11, 2014. In the meantime, yesterday the Court issued a pre-preliminary injunction, ordering Diu to provisionally remove the reference to the handwritten will of Andreas Papandreou in the Theodore Katsanevas Greek Wikipedia article, until the March 11th hearing. However, even if the content is removed by Diu, there is no guarantee that the statements will not be republished by other users. The attempt to obtain such an injunction further illustrates Mr. Katsanevas’s apparent fundamental lack of understanding of how Wikipedia works.

The Wikimedia Foundation is deeply disappointed by the unwarranted actions taken by Mr. Katsanevas in this matter. Wikipedia is an open and collaborative project that is committed to uncensored information presented in a neutral point of view and supported by reliable, secondary sources. Diu acted within the scope of these principles and policies — the statements were and still are supported by reputable secondary sources [1] — and the Greek Wikipedia community decided, through discussion, that they were appropriate for the article.

Mr. Katsanevas has ignored these facts and is now using the legal system against those who do not share his financial means and influence. Diu faces serious monetary and criminal penalties as a result of Mr. Katsanevas’s lawsuit. We have offered — and Diu has accepted — assistance through our Legal Fees Assistance Program. Through this program, Diu has obtained independent legal representation with the well-known Lambadarios law firm, who we thank for helping Diu during this difficult time.

We hope that Mr. Katsanevas will reconsider his pursuit of this unconscionable lawsuit, which we see an assault on our users, our projects, and freedom of speech.

Until then, we stand with Diu.

Michelle PaulsonLegal Counsel

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] See sources used in the Theodore Katsanevas Greek Wikipedia article: http://www.tovima.gr/culture/article/?aid=84975, http://www.protagon.gr/?i=protagon.el.8emata&lid=3202, http://www.tovima.gr/relatedarticles/article/?aid=82208&dt=15/09/1996, and http://archiviostorico.corriere.it/1996/settembre/21/Atene_fattore_Mimi_abbatte_sul_co_0_96092113453.shtml

Launching an Unconventional Trademark Policy for Open Collaboration

The Wikipedia puzzle globe and wordmark.

On February 1, 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved an unconventional new trademark policy. The new policy is uniquely permissive, was developed in a massive online collaboration among the Wikimedia community, and contains cutting-edge information design principles to make it user-friendly.  Just like the content on the Wikimedia sites, the new trademark policy is licensed under a free license, so everyone is free to build upon it when crafting their own trademark policies. In short, it is the perfect fit for Wikimedia’s collaborative projects.

Unlike the legal policies of other companies that are drafted by lawyers in a vacuum (if not simply copied from other websites), this trademark policy was developed through a seven-month long consultation with the Wikimedia community to address its particular needs. This unique process distinguishes Wikimedia from virtually every other top website.

We began by asking the community how they would like to change our 2009 trademark policy. Using their suggestions and other concerns, we prepared a draft policy that we posted on a wiki for online discussion and editing. According to the page’s revision history, the draft policy was edited 138 times in the course of the remaining consultation. While the policy itself has only about 4,000 words, the consultations around the policy resulted in a discussion of 52,000 words. That’s more words than in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!

Here are some of the major changes.

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Wikimedia and Open Access — a rich history of interactions

This post is part of a week of action by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other organizations in January 2014, to which the Wikimedia Foundation is invited to contribute, particularly on Wednesday January 15, when the topic of action is Open Access.

Open access is about freedom to read and to reuse research communications, including to remix, revise and redistribute them.

You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.

Courtship song of a male Cotesia congregata wasp.

Fluorescent fish and sponges

Paedophryne amauensis, the smallest known vertebrate.

You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.

Humpback whale song

CC BY logo

Wikipedia aims to collect the sum of human knowledge and is operating under five fundamental principles, also known as the “five pillars” – it is (1) an encyclopedia that can (2) be read, modified and shared by anyone, while it strives for (3) a neutral point of view and (4) civil discourse on the basis of respect within its community of contributors, which (5) can amend policies and guidelines.

Writing with the aim of representing a topic neutrally requires access to quality sources of information. Citing these sources allows readers of the encyclopedia to verify statements made in its articles, and to explore the topic further, be it for themselves or to enrich future versions of the same or some related Wikipedia article.

Existing copyright legislation makes it difficult to use sources in these ways. In the current default mode with “all rights reserved” articles hidden behind paywalls, Wikipedia authors are barred from reading the sources they might need to improve Wikipedia content, readers might be prevented from verifying the information they find in Wikipedia articles, or even whether it represents a copyright violation or plagiarism. In the event that they can eventually get read access to specific sources, they still do not have the right to use any materials from there (e.g. images, audio or video) to illustrate Wikipedia articles or blog posts about relevant topics.

Over the years of exposure to this set of problems, the Wikimedia communities have come up with a number of approaches to handle the situation. Two of them shall be presented today in a pair of blog posts. The first one is about the Wikipedia Library, an effort to provide read access to the scholarly literature for active Wikipedia contributors. This second one is about interactions of the Wikimedia and Open Access communities, most notably via WikiProject Open Access, which places particular emphasis on reusing materials from suitably licensed scholarly publications in the context of Wikimedia projects.

The Open Access movement and the Wikimedia community have interacted for more than ten years, particularly via the English Wikipedia. For instance, the article about arXiv was started on February 11, 2002, the entry on preprint followed ten months later. In November 2003, the entry open access publishing was started, which was renamed into open access two months later.

Still in 2004, the first Wikimedia chapter — Wikimedia Germany was founded, which went on to become the first Wikimedia entity to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities in 2006, followed by Wikimedia Poland and the Wikimedia Foundation a year later. Since that time, suggestions for large-scale import of materials from Open Access sources into Wikimedia platforms have kept coming up.

In early 2007, the first images from Open Access sources were promoted to featured status on Wikimedia Commons, with one of them reaching the final of that year’s Picture of the Year contest (the 2013 contest is scheduled to start on Friday, again with an Open Access image).

With the beginning of 2009, the journal RNA Biology (which was and still is not Open Access) started to require manuscripts about new RNA families to be accompanied by drafts for corresponding Wikipedia articles, and a few months later, WikiSpecies started a collaboration with the Open-Access journal ZooKeys that was expanded to its sister journal PhytoKeys in the following year.

While more and more images from Open Access sources were uploaded and the number of references from Wikipedia to Open Access articles continued to grow, research about Wikipedia was still mainly published in closed-access journals. This prompted the newly established Research Committee to draft, in 2010, an Open Access policy for research projects receiving significant support from the Wikimedia Foundation.

Since July 2011, the Research:Newsletter has marked references as to whether they were free to read or not. Later that year, Wikimedia Germany had approved funding for the Open Access Media Importer, an automated tool to harvest audio and video materials from suitably licensed scholarly articles and to upload them to Wikimedia Commons. Still in late 2011, the Open Access File of the Day initiative was started, and the Research Committee submitted a response to a EU consultation about Open Access, followed by a response to a similar consultation by the White House in January 2012, at a day when a tiny frog’s image from PLOS ONE was on the front page of more than a dozen Wikipedias. Two days before that, WikiProject Open Access had been launched.

Since January 2012, an Open Access report has been published as part of the monthly GLAM newsletter. In March, PLOS Computational Biology started its Topic Pages — a manuscript track for review articles destined to become updatable as Wikipedia entries — with the article about Circular permutation in proteins. In May, Jimmy Wales became an advisor to the UK government on matters of Open Access, and the Wikimedia Foundation endorsed the Access2Research petition to the White House.

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The Wikipedia Library Strives for Open Access

Our editors are desperate for knowledge. They crave sources to use to build Wikipedia, to share with millions of readers around the globe. Many of the most authoritative sources, however, are locked behind paywalls.

Birth of a partial solution

We started The Wikipedia Library to address this. In 2010 research database Credo Reference donated 500 free accounts to our top editors; the lines of editors requesting these accounts piled over. Through 2011 and 2012 we added partnerships from HighBeam Research, Questia Online Library, The Cochrane Library, and JSTOR. Over 3700 accounts have been donated so far.

SteacieLibrary.jpg

One Wikipedia Library subscriber reflected on the situation: “Having done the grad school thing (twice!), I’m used to having the resources of a research university library. I still have this, but now need to drive 90 minutes to do my research on campus. Given the comparatively modest resources available at Wikipedia versus a 90 minute drive for comprehensive resources, I find that I’d rather make the drive. There will come a point where The Wikipedia Library’s coverage will be sufficient that the drive is no longer worthwhile and instead I spend those 180 minutes editing. We’ll get there; but that point is a ways away.”

Another wrote, “I’m fortunate to work at an institution that pays for access to a great deal of engineering literature as well as giving me access to the UC library system. If I were to go into private industry, I would lose all of that, even if I was willing to pay a subscription fee (per-article pricing is a non-starter). I’d like Wikipedia to be in a position to make access to this material independent of my current employment.”

We’ve been honored to make a small step towards that goal. In many ways it’s been a great success.

A mirror for deeper problems

However, in other ways, the very need for The Wikipedia Library’s donation program only underscores the deep structural problems in our society’s knowledge infrastructure. Who benefits from our practice of accepting these generous donations?. Our editors are spared the frustration of being locked out of a critical source they need to write an article. Our readers can then consume the summarized, encyclopedic content on Wikipedia. But what if they want to check it for themselves, to follow the spirit of our core verifiability policy, and verify it? That’s what we teach people to do–to use Wikipedia as a starting point–which students and even some teachers seem to increasingly accept and practice. Some may luck out with a college library nearby, but the general public is left to rely on Wikipedia as the final word.

“Getting donated accounts is nice, but ultimately, the long term goal needs to be moving toward open publishing models,” said a recently surveyed Wikipedia Library donation recipient. “There is no excuse in this day and age to lock up academic knowledge behind paywalls. A chosen few with access to the resources is far from ideal. Without the widespread ability to verify the claim to a source, paywalled sourcing is almost the same as no citation at all.”

Another lamented, “I am a Wikipedian with 100+ million pageviews. On articles I write, I want my references to be verifiable by others, so it does not help me much whether I can find a source that others can’t check. I got a free subscription to Highbeam a while ago, but my Highbeam references are uncheckable by others, so I tend not to use it much.”

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